Sunday, March 27, 2011

Jetta's Turn...

**Edit** I'm back! I just figured out that you can click the tiny dots where the pictures are supposed to be and they'll open up so you can actually see what I'm talking about! That is, if your browser is being as stupid as mine and not showing the pictures in the first place.

Ok, so Jetta was after Tanq. Of course I first notice that she is filthy after getting her bath on Tuesday. Oh mare. I groomed her really well (bonus for being highly caffeinated = I am very motivated to get things done, even grooming for 15 minutes when I would normally spend two). You can tell she's been bathed because she's really soft (softer than usually) and she just feels cleaner, but still. Why does she have to always be so dirty?!

She got tacked up and I got on, warmed up on a loose rein at the walk. She is doing a lot better at walking on contact. She has been bobbing her head too much so I've been working on that and am pleased to say that it is much better. Then came our trot. She was super forward so I just let her go on a relaxed rein and we trotted around the arena at least five times before I sat back and made asked her to slow down. Quite a few half halts later she was much better, except now she was being really pissy about me putting my inside leg on her. Sigh. She was being really bad about my leg, to the point of kicking up and trying to bite me at the same time. What is wrong with this horse? I put my inside leg on and left it there, making her do a shoulder-in all the way down the long wall. Bonus of being highly reactive to my leg was that we had an awesome shoulder-in. Then I took my leg off and straightened her out for a few strides, then bent her around my inside leg for the corner. No reaction. No ears, no nothing. Weird horse. More trot work and then we cantered. Usually if she's having issues they'll be in the canter, not the trot, but the canter was great today. Perfect speed, light on the forehand, balanced in the corners, no reaction to inside leg.

We switched directions and went through the whole pissy about the inside leg thing again but she worked through it more quickly and had a great ride. I got off feeling very puzzled. Is she sore? Maybe ML rode her with spurs or got after her with her heels and she was sore from that. There was no sensitivity when I girthed her up and she didn't mind my poking and prodding and it worked out after a minute. She was fine on Tuesday when I rode. She isn't in heat any more, that passed just recently so it couldn't be that. I palpated her back, no soreness anywhere, except maybe a touch above her withers. I poked and prodded all over her back and sides with no reaction. Hmph.

Thinking back to when I first started riding, her favorite tactic for trying to get me off was reaching around (while in motion, mind you, cantering even) and trying to bite my feet. So maybe this is just behavioral, after all she's been stalled the past couple days, though I could tell by her tail (she had a giant blackberry branch stuck in it) that she'd been outside. Knowing that TB's have notoriously sensitive digestive tracts I'm also thinking of ulcers, but there's no way that I can pay for a scope and I'm sure my parents would have a fit and fall in it if I asked them to pay. I'm saving up for a chiropractic visit in a couple weeks, so maybe that can shed some light. Any other thoughts? It's not a consistent behavior - sometimes she has the sensitivity, sometimes she doesn't. Sometimes it's really bad, and sometimes its just a slight pinning of the ears. Sometimes she is sensitive through the whole ride and sometimes just for a minute or two. I'm thinking of treating her for ulcers, any recommendations? I know there's GastroGuard, U-Gard and UlcerGuard (I think) that work for ulcers, though one of them is prescription only, but another one has the same active ingredient. Does anyone have something that worked for them? I've heard that there's something else that also helps, I think it's Aloe Juice or something similar? Any advice?

While examing her back I notice with growing dismay her spine configuration. It's something that's developed over the past few months and it's really worrying me. I thought it might disappear as she gained muscle over her topline but it is still there. Red is lump one that worries me, followed by green hollow, and blue lump which is a pretty average lump as far as lumps go that I've seen in a horse's back.

Can you see it? It's barely noticeable in this picture, but there's a lump, hollow, lump. I was reading about it in the most recent edition of Equus and now it really, really worries me. Not good...

Above you can see a really obvious divet, but I think that's just the light being weird. It doesn't look that bad. And does she look a little pot bellied to you or is it just me? Compare that to this picture below that was taken last summer, where there is almost no lump hollow lump.

Then there's this next picture taken two summers ago where there's absolutely no hint of a lump hollow lump. If it's a conformational thing, shouldn't it be obvious from birth, not just as a five year old horse?

Am I being too worried or not worried enough? This horse is going to give me ulcers. Any advice would be appreciated. She is otherwise in very good condition, AC, my trimmer, said her feet are looking a 100% better and that obviously her supplement is working. Her coat is super shiny and soft even before the bath and when turned out in the arena she loves to gallop around and play with Katy. Sigh... What am I going to do with you mare?

Tomorrow we're just going to do a lunge session in side reins over some trot poles (which will now be a regular once weekly thing) to try to improve those topline muscles and hopefully miraculously make that terrible lump go away.

If you can't see the pictures above I am going to be very frustrated. Why can't I see them when they're published?!


  1. There are no photos shown, but I was able to click on the little squares and the photos came up just fine.

    Also... her back in the summer pics looks fine. Her back in the more recent pics... I can see what you're talking about, but I am apt to say it's caused my a slight loss in body condition, rather than something wrong with her spine. If I hadn't seen the summer pics, I would have said she looks slightly weak through the croup... but with better condition on her, you don't see this at all. In fact, the conformation of her hindquarters in general would make me think she is probably a very neat jumper. Is it possible that she has lost a little but of muscle over the winter?

    Is she currently shedding? A lot of horses have overly-sensitive skin during shedding seasons... kind of like when your scalp gets sore from wearing a pony tail for too long.

  2. Her back looks similar to my boy's back, kinda spiny with not much muscle. I'm planning on doing some belly lifts with him to strengthen his core muscles. Her l/s joint is also a little further back than is ideal (pretty common), that just means you'll have to work a little harder to keep her strong.

    It wouldn't hurt to look into ulcer meds for her, but I think one of the best things you can do is provide her with all day forage. Does she spend a lot of time in a stall? If so get a small mesh hay bag to stick her hay in. It will take her longer to eat it and will keep something in her belly for more of the day. Bellies that are empty for too long contribute to ulcers and colic.